Savor Modern Appalachian Cuisine
Experience Award-Winning Appalachian Cuisine on the Peaceful Side of the Smokies
Holding a place in the top 1% of listings on TripAdvisor, the Bistro has been named one of America’s Most Romantic Restaurants and is one of the 25 top Fine Dining Restaurants in the US…
Steeped in tradition and enhanced with contemporary flavor profiles, the component combinations of the Bistro’s culinary team is an Appalachian tour-de-force. True to the farm-to- table experience, the Appalachian Bistro uses fresh produce grown on-site, and sources the highest quality local ingredients, to create renowned dishes that are as inviting to the eye as they are to the palate.
The Bistro offers a refined assortment of regionally inspired dishes expertly curated by Executive Chef Jeff Carter — all served amongst the rustic surroundings of the Great Smoky Mountains. Enjoy a craft cocktail or local beer on our patio amidst the calming wooded vistas. Warm up by the fire pit while making s’mores and sipping a new wine from our highly acclaimed wine selection. Take in the breathtaking nature all around you while experiencing the Peaceful Side of the Smokies like never before.
Executive Chef Jeff Carter
Meet the culinary visionary behind Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro, Chef Jeff Carter. As the Executive Chef at Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro and Corporate Executive Chef for Oldham Hospitality, Chef Carter combines old world techniques with locally sourced ingredients to deliver modern Appalachian cuisine that is both refined and approachable.
Hailing from Mobile, Alabama, his passion for robust flavors was kindled in his father’s Creole kitchen, a spark that still inspires him today. After honing his skills at the Gulf Coast Culinary Institute, Chef Carter embarked on a culinary adventure that spanned local Italian fare, country club elegance, and even the acclaimed Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee. It was at Blackberry Farm that his devotion to Appalachian cuisine truly blossomed. In 2007, Chef Carter’s journey led him to the opening of Blackberry Farm’s newest venture Dancing Bear Lodge, where he embraced the challenge of crafting regionally inspired dishes that paid homage to the Appalachian culinary traditions.
The fire that closed the original Dancing Bear Lodge in 2013 marked a turning point, propelling Chef Carter to contribute his culinary expertise to various successful restaurant concepts in Knoxville under the Burleson Brand. This transition allowed him to further expand his culinary horizons while earning acclaim as a top chef in the Knoxville culinary scene, being awarded first place in Knoxville’s Top Chef Event in 2019.
Yet, it was the call of the mountains that ultimately beckoned him back home in the summer of 2021, as he returned to the newly built kitchen at Dancing Bear Lodge & Appalachian Bistro under the ownership of Oldham Hospitality. Since his return, Chef Carter has helped the Appalachian Bistro secure a position as one of TripAdvisor’s top 25 fine dining establishments in the entire USA for 2023. With several of his well-loved recipes featured in Garden & Gun and other major publications, his elevated comfort dishes celebrate the beauty and culture of the Smoky Mountains, making each dining experience truly exceptional.
Sommelier Michelle LaBorde
Meet Michelle LaBorde, the Bar Director and Sommelier at the Bar at the Bear. Since her arrival in 2023, Michelle has transformed our already remarkable beverage offerings into a collection she would compare to a gallery of fine art. Her expertise shines through in the meticulously curated wine and spirits selection, with a special focus on whiskey that pays homage to its Appalachian roots and the bourbon trails of Tennessee and Kentucky.
Michelle’s journey into the world of fine beverages began in her hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where an encounter with Segla wine at 19 sparked a lifelong passion that would become her career. Her academic pursuits reflect her unwavering dedication to her craft, holding dual bachelor’s degrees in Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences & Enology from Appalachian State University, and a Master of Science in Biological Psychology from Liberty University. Her career includes roles as an Assistant Sommelier at The Breakers in Palm Beach, an Assistant Laboratory Technician Enologist at the Biltmore Winery, and as a Proofing Chemist at Ole Smoky Moonshine. With a deep understanding of the science behind wine and spirits, Michelle’s commitment to the art of beverage selection is unmistakable in the exceptional collection she has cultivated at Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro.